Trent Ernst, Editor
This month is United Way Month here in Tumbler Ridge.
The United Way is probably most visible in town during the Fire Truck Pull, which happened this weekend, but their presence in this community goes far deeper.
United Way’s mission is to improve lives and build communities, by building pathways out of poverty, preparing children to succeed in life, and inspiring people to care for one another.
In Tumbler Ridge, they work to assess needs and provide resources from a ground level community development position. They attend meetings with the Tumbler Ridge Chamber of Commerce, and have a place at the Tumbler Ridge Success By 6 Table of Partners. Indeed, the United Way provides funding for the Success by 6 Coordinator.
Funds which are raised through events such as the Fire Truck Pull are directed back into programs in the community. “By understanding the dynamics of Tumbler Ridge,” says Riannon McVay, Community Development Officer for the Northern BC branch of the United Way, “and through our community development work and time spent in the town, we are able to fund programs that need it most.
United Way provides funding for The Good Food Box Program in Tumbler Ridge, run by Angela Robertson. This program provides affordable goods and healthy living standards for the low-income citizens of Tumbler Ridge. Fruits and vegetables are made available at a reduced price. This program also provides meaningful engagement opportunities for youth and adults with disabilities.
In 2014/2015 United Way facilitated the Mentor Me program in Fort St. John and a career exploration day in Chetwynd, which helped over 500 youth in the North transition into career opportunities.
The United Way also funds a number of regional programs, which are available to and are utilized by Tumbler Ridge community members, says McVay. In addition to Success by 6 and the Good Food Box, these include: Spinal Cord Injury BC, the Northern Brain Injury Association, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, the 24 Hour Crisis Line & Youth Support Line and Positive Living North.
“The people of Tumbler Ridge have access to support services, social gatherings, special events, educational sessions and more to help them adapt, adjust and thrive through these regional programs,” she says.